Olivier Giroud: I had my chance and I was not very decisive

Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud concedes he has lost the initiative to lead the line for France to Karim Benzema.

Back in the Autumn there was almost no contest. Olivier Giroud was scoring for fun for an Arsenal side inspired by Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, while at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema was floundering.

The Bernabeu crowd treated his poor form ruthlessly, jeering and whistling - as he went a staggering 1,200 minutes without a goal.

Right now the tables have been reversed. Giroud's form is indifferent, showing against Bayern once again this week his lack of a cutting edge against the top teams.

Benzema meanwhile is irrepressible, dazzling up front for Madrid in cohorts with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, he has 8 goals in his last 10 games for the club.

This has seen him usurp Giroud in the pecking order for France, confirmed by his starting role against Holland in last week's international friendly, while the Arsenal man had to make do with an appearance from the bench midway through the second half.

It has Giroud left wondering if he has missed a big opportunity, for when he was preferred as a starter in the World Cup qualifiers at the end of last year and friendly matches, he failed to deliver, a point he acknowledged in an interview last night with French radio station RMC.

He stated: "I had my chance but I was not very decisive even if I feel that I have participated in the victory in Belarus. Karim has regained his starting spot and I'm here to bring something more."

Realistic that Benzema's club form makes him undroppable right now for Les Bleus, Giroud sees his best chance as playing in tandem with the Madrid man, a tactic Didier Deschamps is reluctant at present to switch to.

"Why not play both? At the tactical level, we may need to be aligned if we should get a result. We must take risks but these are the choice of coach. When Benzema was worse, I had my chance. I was starter in Belarus."

Giroud has just six international goals in 27 games, a ratio bettered by Benzema's 18 in 64, if not dramatically so.

Benzema has previously been linked as a transfer target for Arsenal, a move which would certainly make Giroud feel uneasy about his starting place. While both are similar, competition with the Madrid man may be just what he needs to inspire him to lift his game, and the pair would at some stage get chances to play together which would help in the international set up.

The problem of course being Benzema's Real form making him a player the La Liga side will be very reluctant to sell, and the much mooted deal presently looks to be a long shot. Overnight reports claim he is in discussions to sign a new contract, which would effectively rule him out as a summer option for the Gunners if he was not already.

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